|5/6||Where Did You Go Bernadette?||Maria Semple|
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.
Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.
To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.
|6/3||Girls of Atomic City||Denise Kiernan|
In this book the author traces the story of the unsung World War II workers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. This is the story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history. The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project's secret cities, it did not appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships, and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men. But against this wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work, even the most innocuous details, was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there, work they did not fully understand at the time, are still being felt today.
|7/1||Flight Behavior||Barbara Kingsolver|
Always beloved, Kingsolver shot into the heavens with her last novel, The Lacuna, a booming best seller that also won the Orange Prize. Said to be her most accessible (but when wasnt she ever thus?), her new work features Dellarobia Turnbow, who dreamed of something bigger than Feathertown, TN, but married young and is now stuck raising kids on a hardscrabble farm. On the way to a rendezvous-her first break with life as it is-Dellarobia comes upon a forested glen filled with silent red fire. Fundamentalists, climate scientists, politicians, and the media mob all come to weigh in fervently on the cause and meaning of this phenomenon, as Dellarobia and her neighbors fend off the invasion. With a 500,000-copy first printing.Manchester.
|8/5||We Should Never Meet||Aimee Phan|
The linked stories that make up this dynamic debut are spare in their approach but profoundly observant. One painful narrative thread follows a mother as she sends her daughter off with Operation Babylift, an initiative launched in Vietnam in the mid-1970s to rescue 2,000 babies from a crumbling Saigon. Another traces the tensions between bookish Mai and hoodlumesque Kim, both Operation Babylift orphans living in L.A., now in their teens. Mai studies very hard, while Kim is a thief and a vicarious member of an Asian gang who inadvertently harms someone she wouldn't have purposefully targeted. These stories read quickly, and yet the deliberateness of their word choice and their motion make it evident that they've been planned very carefully, down to the last detail. Phan plays up the intrinsic toughness of L.A and the chaos of present-day and war-era Vietnam to moving effect in this unassuming but hard-edged psychological travelogue, which memorably shows the ways humans bob and weave against ever-present alienation.
|9/2||Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk||Ben Fountain|
A razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.
Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.
|10/7||Winter Garden||Kristin Hannah|
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.
|11/4||Your Choice||Julia Otsuka/Muriel Spark|
Your Choice of The Buddha in the Attic by Otsuka or The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Spark.
|12/2||Easter Island||Jennifer Vanderbes|
Easter Island is the mysterious backdrop that connects the lives of two remarkable women. Elsa Pendleton is an Edwardian Englishwoman, forced into a marriage of convenience. The other is American botanist Greer Faraday, recently widowed and troubled by unhappy memories. As Greer is forced to confront some unwelcome truths, her story becomes irresistibly entwined with Elsa's.